Facing your fears and pursuing your dreams is the greatest gift you can give yourself — and others
I remember the butterflies in my stomach when I initially made the decision to follow my dream of traveling the world by doing work/volunteer exchanges. There were so many unknowns. Where would we end up? How would we know whether the people who we’ll be working for will be good people? What would others think of this decision? How will it impact our career and financial futures?
The inner critic and its companion of self-doubt could’ve been enough to keep me in my comfort zone for years. Yet I thought about how all of life is uncertain anyway — it’s all just a matter of degree. There is the path of familiar uncertainty and there is the path of unfamiliar uncertainty. The latter is often where our bliss lies. Yet self-doubt often holds us back from pursuing such a path.
Self-love is the antidote as well as the result of following that bliss.
After pursuing my own bliss and traveling Europe for over a year now, I am grateful beyond measure. I doubt any of it would’ve been possible without doing a lot of mindset work after facing some challenges in my life. I am noticing how working on cultivating a brighter self-image has given me the fuel to keep pursuing my next goals.
Here’s why choosing to follow your dreams is the highest form of self-love:
It requires acknowledging that all of the ideas stirring inside of you are just as important as those of others (not any less!). This means treating ourselves as we would treat others — with respect and encouragement.
It requires having the courage to go beyond your comfort zones and betting on yourself even despite the odds. What can be more loving to yourself than showing yourself that you believe in you?
Rather than disregarding those stirrings inside in your heart or putting them off to “one day,” when you follow your bliss you give yourself a wonderful gift — the gift of your own personal growth.
FERTILE GROUND FOR PERSONAL GROWTH
Your dreams are the fertile ground from which you will keep growing into ever-higher versions of yourself! The act of leaping into the unknown helps you build more confidence in yourself as you eventually learn that there really is no such thing as failure. You are simply growing forward with every new life experience.
As you gain new skills and learn what does and doesn’t work, you master your craft. As you persevere regardless of any obstacles, you cultivate the positive character traits that will open many doors in your life.
Your patience may be tested — many times —but each time you refocus on your vision, that patience muscle will get stronger. Your commitment, self-discipline, and focus will be tested. Each time you notice the voice of the inner critic and keep going anyway, you strengthen the neural networks of all those positive qualities.
In the pursuit of your dream, your dream is actually building YOU!
TURNING FEAR INTO EXCITEMENT
You know those butterflies in your stomach every time you think about your dream? That rush of dopamine can either be felt in your body as excitement or fear. You are the one who decides which of the two it will be!
The conditioned voice in your mind will initially want to interpret this feeling as fear. Your brain dislikes uncertainty. It sends you a signal when its comfort zone is about to be breached.
This is a wonderful sign that you are doing something new that could transform your life! Feel the discomfort — but then do it anyway!
Instead of letting the fear become stagnant in your body and cause stress, you can choose to thank it. Thank it for letting you know that you are about to grow beyond who you have been. This is how you turn the voice of the inner critic into the voice of your best friend!
HELPING OTHERS IN THE PROCESS
By stepping into your vision, you can become an example to all those who doubt that it’s possible to follow their dream. You remind them that it’s ok to take a chance on themselves. Perhaps in seeing that you can do it, they will realize that maybe they can do the same.
Just imagine how many flames your courage could help ignite!
When you have a hard time convincing yourself that your dream IS important, think about how your success can affect others. What will achieving your dream help you do for/with your loved ones? What will it allow you to do for your community? Can you imagine how many “strangers” can be positively impacted by the quality of your being as you do what makes your heart smile?
LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO DO THIS!
Love yourself enough to lean into the initial discomfort. Whatever you’ve been putting off, take the initial step today. Even if that just means researching what the first step is! One step will unfold into the next and one day, before you know it, you will find yourself looking back, saying “I remember how scared I was when I decided to go for it…but man, am I glad I did!”
“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” ― Joseph Campbell
Your dreams are essential to a happier world, sweet soul. Follow your bliss today.